Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
It's holiday racing at Caymanas Park today, the well-supported Heroes Day programme featuring the 53rd running of the $1.3 million Governor General's Stakes (grade one) over 2000 metres along with the $1.1 million Hi-Pro Stables Choice Feeds Trophy at 1300 metres for maiden two-year-olds.
Only six starters have been declared for the GG Stakes, including the 2010 Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner MARK MY WORD, who is out for the first time since March, as well as the 2011 St Leger winner COMMANDING CHIEF and the very fit American horse RAISE A RUCKUS, who won this race last year.
The Richard Azan-trained MARK MY WORD will be using this race as his only prep for the November 10 Superstakes over the distance and having been extensively prepared, should make it three wins in a row, despite the inexperience of his rider, 4.0kg claiming apprentice Jemar Jackson, who rode his first winner, SPECIAL REPORT, on Saturday.
Jackson's presence, however, will ensure that MARK MY WORD carries a mere 53.0kg rather than the allotted topweight of 57.0kg. At this weight, it would be difficult for any horse to upstage the classy five-year-old by market rally out of Miss Chestnut over this trip, over which he has won back-to-back Superstakes and the 2010 St Leger.
Still, COMMANDING CHIEF has a bit of class as well, and although beaten by MARK MY WORD the three times they have met in the past year, could bring race fitness into play and fight out the finish with champion jockey Dick Cardenas aboard.
fit and raring to go
With recent winner RAISE A RUCKUS expected to keep the big two honest with his pace, the choice has to be MARK MY WORD, who is fit and raring to go by virtue of his pleasing exercise reports. The Everal Francis-trained COMMANDING CHIEF has won three of his last five races and with only 51.0kg, should ensure he is extended in the closing rush.
Meanwhile, the Hi-Pro Stables Choice Feeds Trophy co-feature will see another set of native-bred two-year-old maidens in action on the back of Saturday's Cash Pot 'Only One For Me' Trophy which was won by UNCLE TAF.
From a field of 11, including four newcomers, the race looks tailored for PERSIAN BELLE, who is a stable-companion to MARK MY WORD.
The Azan-trained colt by Traditional out of Emerald Belle was a fast-finishing second to none other than UNCLE TAF on his recent debut over 1100, a race in which he missed the break and did well to recover. Now better for the experience, he should make no mistake with Shane Ellis again in the saddle.
I also like MIRACLE RECOVERY to win the second race, THE GUV to rebound in the third, PRINCE OF ARABIA in the fourth and VIBES MASTER in the 10th and final.